A. Tobey Yu pioneered innovative, cost-cutting concepts of minerals handling and transport that every year save the minerals industry untold millions of dollars. Tobey Yu’s use of utmost simplicity to solve complex engineering problems was his key to the design and completion of more than 100 major materials handling projects in the United States and abroad.
Beginning in the late 1950s, Tobey Yu skillfully converted the totally barren Atacama desert in Chile into a state-of-the-art, integrated, 4.5-million-ton-per-year mining and shipping operation. The resulting, world-class Compania Minera Santa Fe produced and delivered low-cost, high-grade magnetite and concentrates to virtually every major steel plant in the world, using its own railroad, mechanized loading ports, and ocean-going vessels.
Following his Chilean success, Tobey Yu founded ORBA Corp., which quickly became a world leader in minerals handling and transport. Tobey and ORBA made history by turning the Great Lakes into a modern, efficient ore/coal shipping waterway, humming with automated docks and a fleet of giant self-unloaders.
In a mere decade, ORBA developed, modernized, and revamped virtually every major transshipping terminal for ore, coal, and potash. Moreover, Tobey Yu fostered the birth of a new generation of giant self-unloading vessels. Always, he strove to deliver least-cost raw materials to their users’ doorsteps.
During his long career, Tobey Yu achieved many notable engineering firsts. Among these were:
• The first modularized, automated truck-to-train transfer station.
• The highest-speed, onboard, wheel-type, self-unloading system for 1,000-ft integrated tug-barges at 10,000 metric tonnes per hour.
• The first Parascrew system to unload phosphate rock in an ocean-going 23,000 dwt integrated tug barge.
• The first ship-barge loading system for coal.
• The first iron ore storage and blending system designed by computer simulation to solve a complex shipping-scheduling-storage problem.
• The first modularized dry magnetite beneficiation plant.
• The first 7.5-mile-long overland belt conveyor for iron ore.
In recognition of his remarkable work, professional peer groups showered Tobey Yu with prestigious awards. Among these were the 1989 AIME Richards Award for Engineering Excellence, the 1988 ASME Materials Handling Engineer of the Year Award, the 1977 ASCE Outstanding Engineering Achievement Award, and the 1977 CEC Engineering Excellence Award.
A. Tobey Yu contributed much to the progress of the mining industry. The industry continues to benefit enormously from his exceptional career.